Thursday, 12 September 2013

The First Ever Spurn Point Migration Festival Sept 6th-8th 2013

Here is my account and photos from the 1st migration festival at Spurn Point in East Yorkshire.
I had a great 2 days at the point where there was plenty to do such as moth trapping, sea watching, migration walks and lectures.

On the way to the migfest on the first day I came across this roe deer with her offspring just north of Kilnsea.
A few minutes later I took this photo of the sunrise.It was about 6.30am.
After signing in at the reception tent we headed up the point towards the observatory and sea watching areas.
There were plenty of juvenile swallows flying around and resting on the fences.

In the bushes were goldfinches and on the mudflats were redshanks, ringed plovers, dunlin & little egrets.
Goldfinch enjoying the morning sun.
Redshanks on the mudflats.

The highlight for me of the first day had to be seeing my first common rosefinches(unfortunately no photos) and my first red backed shrike at a distance hunting bees.
Red Backed Shrike
 After catching a bumble bee.
A walk in the afternoon up Beacon Lane produced this resting migrant hawker.
The following morning I was up and out along the mudflats with the tide still in and was able to watch a group of little egrets.

The lighthouse was open and had been turned into a gallery so we decided to make the climb to the top.It was hard work epsecially as the last part was practically vertical and I was that slow hobbling up that I held up a couple of old ladies.
The climb was worth it though for these views.
Looking back up Spurn Point.
 View out to sea.
 At the base of the lighthouse.Taken by Majella Fox.
 Having a break on the beach after the climb.Taken by Majella Fox.
We then spent some time with the sea watching group where we saw arctic skuas, manx shearwaters,golden plovers and a red throated diver.
There was also a small starling murmuration of about 200 birds on the reserve.
 Just before we left we were treated with a hummingbird hawkmoth that flew into the reception tent.It was moved onto a migfest shirt for a bit of media exposure.:)
My full list of sightings for the weekend.
1.Dunnock 2.Curlew 3.Swallow 4.Starlings 5.Goldfinch 6.Gannet 7.Mallards 8.Herring Gull 9.Red Backed Shrike 10.Wood Pigeon 11.Little Egret 12.Common Rosefinch 13.Greenfinch 14.Black Headed Gull 15.Redshank 16.Great Black Backed Gull 17.Shelduck 18.Knot 19.Ringed Plover 20.Snipe 21.Cormorant 22.Mute Swan 23.Moorhen 24.Magpie 25.Grey Wagtail 26.Meadow Pipit 27.Chaffinch 28.Coot 29.Robin 30.Wren 31.Housemartin 32.Pintail 33.Tufted Duck 34.Dunlin 35.Yellow Wagtail 36.Lesser Whitethroat 37.Greenshank 38.Manx Shearwater 39.Linnet 40.House Sparrow 41.Arctic Skua 42.Golden Plover 43.Blackbird 44.Collared Dove 45.Willow Warbler 46.Buzzard 47.Red Throated Diver 48.Sparrowhawk

Other sightings of interest.
Roe Deer, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Grey Seals & Angle Barred Pug.

You can keep check of all the sightings from the sea watching and on Spurn Point during the migration period at

Lastly a massive thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this first migration festival such a great weekend and a masssive success.Already looking forward to the next one in 2014.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

WWT Castle Espie - Ross's geese,red crested pochards & buffleheads!

No, don't get too excited all the birds in the title were captive ones.

While over in Northern Ireland visiting Majella's mum we decided to head up to Strangford Lough and the WWT reserve Castle Espie.We have never been before so no idea what to expect.
The first part of the reserve you walk through is the captive breeding section with an array of different ducks and geese.
Red breasted geese.

Ross's geese

Emperor Geese
Red Crested pochards
Patagonian Crested Duck
Puna Teal
Wood ducks
Greenland white-fronted geese
 Feeding the Hawaiian (Nene) Geese
Then you go walk out to one the hides and screens that overlook Strangford Lough.The tide was out but there were plenty of these.Oystercatcher on Strangford Lough shore.
Collared dove portrait.
Of course there were loads of mallards taking advantage of the food.

We saw 5 butterfly species on the reserve despite the dullness and drizzle, small & large whites,peacocks,small tortoiseshell & this common blue.
We managed to see 28 bird species, mostly common ones.
Blue tits
Coal tits
Wood Pigeon
Pied wagtails
Black Headed Gulls
Greylag Geese
Tufted ducks
House Sparrows
Black tailed Godwits
Mute swans
Great tits
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Little Grebes
Collared Doves
If you are ever in or around the Belfast area it is definately worth a visit to WWT Castle Espie and the surrounding area of Strangford Lough.

Thanks again for reading and looking at my photos and apologies for posting more photos in one blog than usual.